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August 21, 2022 3:41 pm
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Why I Believe in Carolyn Maloney

avatar by Elisha Wiesel

Opinion

U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) speaking in Union Square at a press conference about combating gun violence. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA)

I believe in Carolyn Maloney because she listens to those who are ignored.

She heard women say: We are not being paid fairly. And she commissioned government accountability reports to expose the glass ceiling that still constrains. She heard women say: Our rape cases aren’t being prosecuted with the full force of government. And she championed legislation to make rape DNA testing kits widely available. She heard women say: we’re vulnerable in the military. And she made the presence of those kits a condition to the defense budget.

She heard New Yorkers who lived downtown during and after September 11th say: We are getting sick and it might be from the toxic dust and debris after the attacks. And she believed them and drove the re-opening of the Victims Compensation Fund to provide relief to those suffering from toxins released at the World Trade Center’s collapse.

But what truly differentiates Carolyn Maloney is how she listened to our community.

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She heard the elected representatives of our brothers and sisters in Israel, conservative and liberal Prime Ministers alike, say: you cannot trust the Islamic Republic of Iran. They pour torrents of oil-fueled wealth into stoking terrorism against Israeli and American citizens and interests across the world. They will cheat on, or wait out, any deal they sign, and use your money for evil.

And she believed Israel, our ally in values and our ally in purpose, rather than Iran.

Can the same be said for other representatives, who dropped their objections to the Iran Deal during the unfolding of what Ben Rhodes proudly referred to as his “echo chamber”? How it stings to be told: We know better than you whether to sign deals with those who loudly call for your destruction.

Carolyn knew that the Jewish people across the entire world daven our daily prayer for Jerusalem three times a day.

And she believed we meant it and said: Jerusalem has been the Jewish focal point for twenty-five hundred years. How can the United States not follow through on the promise of Congress to have our embassy in Israel’s capital?

Can the same be said for other representatives? How it stings to be told: We’ll acknowledge your truth, but not in public.

It may not be easy to believe that it is a non-Jewish ally in Congress who takes threats to our survival and historical record so personally and so seriously.

But it wasn’t easy to accept forty years ago that a working mother could win a seat on the New York City Council, or ultimately chair the most important committees in the House.

Nothing has been easy for Carolyn. But our gratitude? That should be easy. She certainly has mine. I ask you to consider giving her yours as well.

Elisha Wiesel is an American businessman and the only child of Jewish writer, activist, and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel

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